Pilot Free Trade Zone Shanghai

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1 Pilot Free Trade Zone Shanghai Shanghai s first Free Trade zone was launched in September 2013, targeted to make Shanghai an international trade and finance hub. It was established on the strategic decision of the central government, and it is a significant measure to boost China s reform and opening up under the new circumstances. The overall objectives of the Pilot FTZ haven t been fully implemented yet, according to the Chinese government they will be launched during the course of two or three years of piloting reforms. They include: Expand the opening up of service sectors and promote the reform of the foreign investment administrative system. Develop headquarter economy and new trade forms Explore RMB convertibility Opening up of financial services Improvement of Customs supervision efficiency Create a framework to support investment and innovation activities to cultivate internalized business environment by international standards Convenient investment and trading procedure Full convertibility of currencies Investor friendly regulatory environment 1

2 Scope of implementation The area is comprised of the four customs supervision areas, including Shanghai Waigaoqiao bonded zone, Waigaoqiao bonded logistics zone, Yangshan Borded Port and Shanghai Airport free trade zone, the scope of implementation and pilot measures will be progressively expanded, forming a supporting mechanism for building Shanghai as an international economic, finance, trade and transportation center. Major tasks and measures The Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone aims to develop a framework in line with international norm for investment and trade. To do so, they are planning a line of new tasks and actions to be implemented step by step with risks under control. 1. Accelerate the functional transformation of government a. Deepened reform in the administration system. An administrative management system that meets and fits with international trade and investment standard will be established. The focus of the administrative management procedures will shift from prior approval to mid-event control and subsequent supervision. More efficient means will be set up in order to improve the administrative system; more information sharing, more 2

3 transparency, enhancement of fair competition, better supervision and enforcement will be implemented to cover area of quality and technical supervision. 2. Opening up of the investment sectors a. Opening up of the service sectors. The financial services, transportation services, commerce and trade services, professional services, cultural services and public services are selected to be enlarged and opened (for detailed list please refer to Measures to open up the service sectors), and market access restrictions such requirements concerning the qualification of investors, limitations on foreign participation, restrictions concerning business scope etc. will be suspended or canceled, in order to create an environment of equal market access for the benefits of all investors. b. Negative list administrative approach. Compared to before FTZ implications the shanghai FTZ will now reform the administrative approach of foreign investment based on international norms, negative list mechanism will be implanted with in the zone. The Negative list includes projects that are not allowed for foreign investment, other than them the investment sector for foreign companies will be gradually opened. c. Set up a support system for outbound investments. The FTZ is aiming to reform outbound investment administration by principally implementing the filling system on the setup of overseas companies and on general outbound investment projects. 3. Promote the transformation of trade development approach a. The FTZ is cultivation new trading types and functions, aiming to increase China s competitive advantage and enhance their position in the global trade value chain by focusing on the development of technology. Multinational 3

4 companies are encouraged to set up Asia-Pacific regional headquarters and/or operation centers with comprehensive functions of trading, logistics, settlements etc. more efforts will be made to promote Shanghai as the international trae settlement center More efforts will be made to promote Shanghai as the international trade settlement center, and to expand the function of the special account on cross-border receipt or payment and financing under trade in service. Enterprises in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will be supported to develop offshore business. Enterprises are encouraged to employ an overall plan in international and domestic trade to integrate the development of domestic and foreign trading business. International commodity trading and resource configuration platform will be explored to trade energy products, basic industrial raw materials and agriculture commodities. The ongoing pilot bonded futures delivery will be expanded and improved and the warehouse receipt financing and other functions will be extended. The establishment of outbound cultural trade bases will be accelerated. The outsourcing service sectors include biopharmaceuticals, software and information, management consulting, data services etc. will be encouraged. Financial leasing companies will be allowed and encouraged to set up project companies in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and to carry out domestic and international leasing business. Third-party inspection and appraisal institutions are encouraged to set up with appraisal results be acceptable in accordance with international standards. High-tech and value-added maintenance services will be trialed in the Pilot FTZ. Cross border e-business service function will be cultivated, and a system covering customs, inspection & quarantine, tax refunds, crossborder payment and logistics will be set up to support cross-border e- business. 4

5 b. Elevate the capacity of the shipping service. The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will leverage on the Waigaoqiao Port, Yangshan Deep-Water Port and Pudong International Airport to form a shipping development system and operation model that will have strong global competitive advantages. Shipping related services such as shipping financing, international ship transportation, international ship management, and international ship brokerage, will be proactively encouraged. Additionally, the development of freight index derivatives will be accelerated. Transition and LCL businesses will be further promoted. Foreign ships owned or indirectly owned by Chinese invested companies are allowed to pilot the coastal shipping between domestic coastal ports and Shanghai port. Pudong International Airport is encouraged to increase the number of flights for cargo transition. By utilizing the geographic advantages of Shanghai and the preferential taxation on Chinese flag of convenience ships, qualified ships will be encouraged to register in Shanghai. The FTZ will implement the international ship registration policy as piloted in Tianjin. The application process on permitting international shipping will be simplified to create a more efficient ship registration system. 4. Deepen innovation and opening up of financial services a. Accelerate the innovation of the financial system. Under proper risk control, the FTZ will pilot RMB capital account convertibility, interest rate liberalization, and the cross-border use of RMB. In China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the assets by the financial institutions will be at market rate. The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will explore the trial of a foreign exchange administrative system that is in line with international practice to better facilitate trade and investment. Enterprises are encouraged to leverage on both domestic and international market resources to liberalize 5

6 cross-border financing. Administration on foreign debt will be further reformed to facilitate cross-border financing. Foreign exchange centralized operation by multinational companies' headquarters will be enhanced to encourage the setup of regional or global treasury centers in Shanghai. A mechanism needs to be established to associate financial reforms in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and Shanghai's development into an international financial center. Enhance the financial service function. The finance sector will be fully opened to private investors and foreign invested financial institutions. Foreign-invested and Sino-foreign equity joint venture banks will be allowed to incorporate in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Platforms for international transactions will also be permitted to be established in FTZ by financial markets. The oversea companies will gradually be allowed to engage in commodity futures trading. Financial market innovations are encouraged. Equity escrow institutions will be supported to setup comprehensive financial service platform in the FTZ. The cross- border RMB reinsurance business is also encouraged to cultivate reinsurance market. 5. Improve regulatory supporting systems a. Strengthen protection through regulatory system enhancements. A regulatory system of high standard investment and trade rules will be developed rapidly to serve the needs of the FTZ. In regard to the content of the pilot, some administrative regulations 4 and provisions in the State Council s documents will be terminated according to the prescribed procedures. Among these regulations and provisions, certain administrative examination and approval requirements under "Law of the People's Republic of China on Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises", "Law of the People's Republic of China on Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture Companies", "Law of 6

7 the People's Republic of China on Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Companies" will be temporarily adjusted and such adjustment will be tentatively implemented in the next three years started from 1 October The government departments shall support the expansion and opening of service industry in the FTZ, the deepening of pilot reforms on the implementation of "National Treatment" on investment permission and "the Negative List" management approach, and solve the problems in regulatory protection during the pilot period. The Shanghai Municipal People's Government will establish an administrative system through local legislation in correspondence to the demands of the FTZ. Measures to open up the service sectors in the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone Financial Services 1. Banking Service a. Qualified foreign financial institutions will be allowed to set up wholly foreignowned banks and Sino-foreign equity joint venture banks with eligible private capital within the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Restricted license banks will be allowed to be incorporated under certain conditions. b. Qualified Chinese banks will be allowed to conduct offshore business under the condition of improving related regulations and enhancing supervision. 2. Specialized health and medical insurance a. Setup of foreign invested specialized health and medical insurance institutions will be allowed. 3. Financial leasing (already been implemented) 7

8 a. The minimum registered capital requirements for a project company (i.e. singleship/aircraft Company) set up by financial leasing companies within the (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will be removed. b. Financial leasing companies will be allowed to conduct commercial factoring that is related to its primary businesses. Updates from the News Xinhua news: Beijing earlier announced that the Yuan would become fully convertible within the zone, but the central bank s guidelines showed that the liberalization would be milder than the market s expectations. In an unprecedented way banks will be allowed to engage in overseas business and to give financial services to foreign companies and to collaborate with foreign bank that will take part of the FTZ. South China Morning post 4/12/2013 reform in Shanghai trade Zone is to start in 3 month. Formally launched financial liberalizations in the new shanghai free trade zone in three month after the trial proves successful. According to Dai Houbo, Deputy Director of Shanghai FTZ Management Committee, in the following year the FTZ will start allowing free trade according to market behavior and without government intervenient. At November the Shanghai International Energy Exchange office was opened, it will allow trading in Crude oil futures as early as next march and work is already on the way on other exchanges such as the Shanghai stock exchange and china foreign exchange trade system. Dai also mentioned that the cross border e-commerce platform will be operating in the zone by the end of this month. 8

9 RMB convertibility under capital account. On December 5, the two-way crossborder RMB business capital pool was officially launched in FTZ to promote the two-way RMB flow within the zone.rmb s international settlements system architecture is said to be formed in FTZ in So far the Chinese Banks that were given a green light to participate in the new FTZ are: China Bank, China Agriculture Bank, China Construction bank, China Communication Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Bank of Merchants, Pudong Development Bank, Ping An Bank. The foreign banks are Citi Bank, HSBC, DBS, Hang Seng Bank, Standard Charters, BEA and Deutsche Bank. Transportation services 4. Ocean transportation a. Limitations on foreign participation in Sino-foreign equity joint venture and Sino-foreign cooperative joint venture international shipping enterprises will be relaxed. The transport administrative authorities of the State Council shall be in charge of the rulemaking. b. Foreign ships owned or indirectly owned by Chinese-invested companies are allowed to pilot the coastal shipping between domestic coastal ports and Shanghai port. 5. International ship management a. Incorporation of wholly foreign-owned ship management enterprises will be allowed. Commerce and Trade services 9

10 6. Value-added telecommunications a. Subject to the network information security, qualified FIEs will be allowed to engage in specific value added telecommunication services. Approval by the State Council is required if the limitations exist in current administrative regulations. 7. Entertainment and gaming consoles sales and service a. FIEs will be allowed to engage in the manufacturing and sales of entertainment and gaming consoles. The consoles with content passing the censorship by the culture administrative authorities will be allowed to be sold in the domestic market. Professional services 8. Lawyer service a. Cooperative mechanism between Chinese and foreign law firms will be explored. 9. Credit inquiry a. Incorporation of foreign invested credit information companies will be allowed. 10. Tourism companies a. Sino-foreign equity joint venture tourism companies registered in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will be allowed to engage in overseas tourism business activities, with the exception of Taiwan. 11

11 11. Human resources service a. Setup of Sino-foreign equity joint venture human resources agencies will be allowed with the foreign participation at 70% or below. Investors from Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to set up wholly foreign-owned human resources agencies. b. The minimum registered capital for foreign invested human resources agencies will be reduced from USD300,000 to USD125, Investment management a. Incorporation of foreign-invested joint-stock holding companies will be allowed. 13. Engineering design a. Foreign-invested engineering design (excluding engineering survey) companies registered in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone may be waived from the requirement to provide the investor's previous project records on initial application of the relevant qualifications for those applicants providing services in Shanghai. 14. Construction service a. Wholly foreign-owned construction enterprises registered within the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone will be allowed to conduct Sino-foreign joint construction projects in Shanghai regardless of the extent of foreign participation in the project. 11

12 Cultural services 15. Entertainment artist agency a. The limitation on foreign participation in entertainment artist agencies will be removed. A wholly foreign owned entertainment artist agency will be allowed to set up to provide service in Shanghai. 16. Entertainment facilities a. Wholly foreign-owned entertainment facilities will be allowed to set up and provide service in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Public services 17. Education and training, vocational skills training a. Establishment of Sino-foreign cooperative joint venture education and training institutions will be allowed. b. Establishment of Sino-foreign cooperative joint venture vocational skills training institutions will be allowed. 18. Medical service a. Establishment of wholly foreign-owned medical institutions will be allowed On December 19th, Executive Deputy Director at FTZ said with the 23 expanded service sectors, there are 4 sectors need further clarification and relevant management measures including international transportation management, International ship management, Limited banking license, and Lawyer service. 12

13 Shanghai Pilot FTZ- FAQ 1. What are the benefits of opening a overseas business in the new zone (FTZ)? The Shanghai FTZ is served as China s testing ground for economic reforms. These reforms include: The liberalization of many investment sectors that currently restricting foreign investment a. There are 6 selected service sectors to be enlarged and opened. Market access restrictions on these sectors will be suspended or cancelled. b. Trial national treatment on investment permission and a Negative List mechanism will be implemented within the zone. For projects that are not stated in the Negative List, foreign investors and domestic investors will receive the same treatment. The new negative list is expected to be released in the first half year of c. For areas falling outside the negative list, pre-approval will no longer be required for foreign investment projects and establishment of foreign investment enterprises; instead filing (i.e. reporting) requirements will apply. Structural changes in the financial sector and foreign exchange administration a. The Shanghai FTZ will pilot RMB capital account convertibility, interest rate liberation, and the cross-border use of RMB. The assets by the financial institutions will be at market rate. b. The foreign exchange administrative system will be explored to be in line with international practice to better facilitate trade and investment. The further development of trade in goods within FTZ 13

14 2. What are the Tax regulations there? Customs? For an aircraft with unladen weight of 25 tons or more, a VAT preferential policy will be applied, where such aircraft is approved by relevant national government authorities to be purchased from overseas by a domestic leading company registered in the FTZ and then leased to domestic airlines. Goods which are produced and processed by enterprises set up in FTZ and sold through second tier (i.e. goods flow between the FTZ and other domestic areas) to other domestic areas should be subject to import VAT and consumption tax pursuant to the regulations. Subject to an application from the enterprise, a pilot policy will be applied where the customs duty on the aforementioned goods for domestic sales purpose may be collected based on the materials and components which were imported into the FTZ for being produced or processed into the goods, or based on the actual status of the finished goods when they are declared for domestic sales. Under the current policy framework, machine, equipment and other goods imported by manufacturing enterprises and manufacturing-related service enterprises which are set up in the FTZ are exempt from any import tax, except for those imported by consumer service enterprises or those are not subject to import tax exemption as expressly prescribed in laws and relevant regulations. Subject to strict implementation of goods import tax policies, bonded exhibition and trading platforms are permitted to be set up within specific areas. 3. How many foreign companies are registered? FTZ is launched on Sep. 29th. By November 22nd, it has already received individual and enterprise counseling more than people. Within 35 working days, there are 1434 new companies registered in the area, of which 38 14

15 are foreign invested companies. For these new enterprises 69% are trade industry and 26% are service industry. By December 20, there are 48 financial institutions settled license in FTZ, including 9 Chinese banks and 12 foreign banks open branches here. Furthermore, there are 243 financial information services and asset management institutions have confirmed their settlement. In addition, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc. foreign entertainment companies as well as foreign engineering design and business factoring companies also have entered. 4. Overseas companies Capital regulations? The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) will consent to the founding of the Shanghai International Energy Trading Center Co., Ltd. In the FTZ by the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The company will be responsible for enhancing the establishment of a trading platform of international crude oil futures. The CSRC supports qualified entities and individuals in the FTZ to make investments in foreign and domestic securities and futures markets in accordance with relevant regulations. Qualified individuals who are employed in the FTZ, qualified financial institutions and enterprises may set up special nonresident individual accounts with securities and futures institutions in the FTZ to carry out investments in domestic securities and futures market. Foreign parents of enterprises in the FTZ may issue RMB bonds in domestic markets. Depending on the market needs, the CSRC will explore to introduce the trading of international financial assets in the FTZ. 15

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